Reed weighs in on immigrant minors, Michelle Nunn campaign gaffe

Mayor Kasim Reed said Atlanta has open arms to the thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children detained by U.S. authorities after fleeing Central America.

“I would welcome the unaccompanied minors in the City of Atlanta. It’s one of the reasons I established the Welcoming Cities Initiative,” he said, referring to a national program in which local governments engage immigrant populations.

The mayor said the metro region has the second fastest foreign born population by percentage on the Eastern seaboard. He characterized caring for the children a “moral responsibility.”

Reed said he will be briefed on the issue in a conference call Tuesday afternoon. Afterward, he plans to “send a clear signal that the City of Atlanta will do whatever we can do to be accommodating and welcoming to the children,” he said. His office declined to specify the source of the conference call.

Last week Gov. Nathan Deal sent a scathing letter to the White House over news federal authorities have released more than 1,100 unaccompanied immigrant minors to the care of Georgia sponsors. According to the letter, Deal said it was “unconscionable” that President Barack Obama’s administration failed to inform his office that the children had been placed in the state.

Reed said he hadn’t read the governor’s letter, but that the men share different views on the controversial topic.

Deal has said he’s sympathetic to the children’s plight, but is predicting the number of immigrant children coming to Georgia will grow and drive up school costs for the state and local communities.

The mayor was speaking Tuesday at a press conference regarding ways to save for a future infrastructure bond worth up to $250 million, pending voter approval next year.

The event came a day after U.S. Senate Democratic hopeful Michelle Nunn’s campaign suffered a massive blow with the leak of internal campaign documents, first published by The National Review Monday.

Reed, who is largely considered one of Georgia’s most prominent Democrats and prolific fundraisers, has pledged his support for Nunn and already campaigned on her behalf.

Asked what advice he would give, the mayor paused.

“Every campaign has ups and downs. You don’t know the quality of your campaign until you’ve been hit,” he said. “They should count this as a hit. And she’s going to be just fine.”

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Reed weighs in on immigrant minors, Michelle Nunn campaign gaffe
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